Welcome to Asians in America!
We are a new blog featuring interviews, stories, and essays relevant to the Asian in America experience, a collective experience made up of countless individual narratives, each deserving to be heard.
Asians in America, in our view, includes anyone (not just Asian-Americans) who identifies and can be recognized as Asian with stories to tell about what it means to live in America. That said, there are no boundaries to our community – everyone who has a perspective to offer on the Asian in American narrative is welcome to participate in the discourse.
We hope you enjoy your time here, and welcome to our conversation!
About the Editor
Lichen Han is a current law student, living in New York. Prior to pursuing law, he worked as a software engineer. He also has a M.F.A. in creative writing. He loves books and stories and is the founder of 87 Bedford, an online literary magazine. In his free time, he likes to write, hike, and find good eats.
What has your experience been like as an Asian in America?
I was born in Shanghai, China, but my family left before my earliest memories. I grew up initially in Singapore and Canada, before we moved to California when I was about eight years old. Upon arriving in SFO – my first moment as an Asian in America – I apparently told my parents that it was time to say good-bye and go back home. My parents found this amusing, but we ended up staying in America anyways.
Growing up in the Bay Area, California, I was surrounded by Asian-Americans. As a result, I never really felt like a “minority” until after I left the Bay. Nevertheless I remember still feeling like an outsider when I was younger because of my uprooted childhood. I was really envious of the other kids who were lucky enough to grow up in the same place their whole lives.
But despite my feelings back then, I’ve always valued the diversity of my background as a “first-and-a-half” generation immigrant. Although I’m neither an ABC (American-born Chinese) nor a truly first-generation immigrant (like my parents who came to the states by choice), I nevertheless find myself relating to both groups.
What prompted you to start this website?
There are over 17 million Asians in America, of varying looks and experiences, all of whom have different stories to tell. For me, it’s always been a source of pride to know that my story is a part of a much larger narrative. As someone who has always loved stories, I believe that there are many people, myself included, who would be interested in learning more about the Asian in America tapestry of 17 million different tales.
What book have you read recently that has left an impact on you?
I recently finished reading Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a powerful, multi-generational epic about ordinary Koreans living to survive in Japan, pre- and post-World War II. Min Jin Lee’s writing is crisp but nuanced, each of her many characters was incredibly relatable and authentic, and the ending of the novel was not only deeply moving but really left me curious to learn more about that historic time period and the immense impact it had on the Asians who lived through it.
As an Amazon Associate, Asians in America earn from qualifying purchases. If interested, you can purchase a copy of Pachinko using our Amazon affiliate link, which helps to keep us running. We really appreciate it!